Saturday, September 10, 2011

When Climate Changes...

I was viewing my friend's pictures on Facebook when my attention was diverted to a huge sign posted on the background building.  "Climate Change: Act and Adapt"  That got my attention.  This is related to a British campaign to cut carbon emissions.  Being me, I began to weigh the truth and meaning of the phrase.

Change is a shifting of conditions and of things.  Change is constantly happening - environmental climate, social climate,  emotional climate, financial climate, and spiritual climate. Our climate changes us but we can choose the manner that we are changed.

Action is what we do externally. Our actions are regulated by the force that lies inside - the heart. Ideally, it is the implementation of a carefully laid plan. But when the heart is not properly harnessed, it gets corrupted by our circumstances. In which case, the resulting action is very random and undependable.

Change is not bad.  It is what we do in response that will ultimately upgrade or devalue our class.  We can capitalize on change to achieve noble goals or be a victim of change because we did not adapt.  To adapt is to absorb some of the changes around us without compromising the integrity of the heart.   To preserve our integrity in the eyes of God while withstanding environmental changes requires choosing to change behaviors that are detrimental.  We all know that wisdom and understanding only come to us by God's grace.  The ability to choose well improves with our closeness to God and His precepts.

God allows change to test our hearts.  Sometimes He funnels blessing into our hands so that we could mature; in turn bless others when we spread the joys of having.  In the book of Luke 12:13-21 we read about a man who changed to be a very rich man.  He liked the change on the quantity of the blessings but he did not act to adapt to the situation that was changing his heart.  He had so much that all he saw was the blessing.  He was too busy managing his wealth to notice his own shifting character.  The smoke of selfishness and greed clouded his heart. He missed his chance to use his prosperity as a staging point of love to glorify God and to care for others.  The next day he was going to die and rot.  He lived a wasted life.  A positive change for a negative result.

Job's life was changed when God allowed Satan to test the integrity if his allegiance to God.  He lost everything but he remained faithful to God.  His conditions changed when he lost all his family and wealth.  "God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. Yet I was not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face." (Job 23:16-17  NIV).   Job had two options in dealing with the severe changes in his life: 1) to passively allow his tragic circumstances to weaken his faith in God or 2) to consciously choose to strengthen his faith by reminding himself of the majesty of God.

God allows change to renew our circumstances.   Ruth was a Moabites.  Through her marriage to a Jew she gradually learned about God.  Her knowledge was changing her mind and heart.  Soon her husband and father-in-law died.  Mother-in-law, Naomi, now returns to her home land - Israel.  It was time for Ruth to choose between her people and those of her mother-in-law's that worshipped the God that she now knows.  She could have chosen to stay home and later marry another man in Moab.  Yet she followed her mother  in law Naomi because she knew that was the right thing to do.   God honored her righteousness and preserved her.  She would soon be included in the lineage of Christ.   A negative change for a positive result. 

God allows change to renew us.   "Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though  outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day" (2 Corinthians 4:16). Sometimes we see changes that seem to endanger our stability.  It happened before (Acts 19:23-41) and we see it happen now as in the recent economic downturn.  People do drastic moves to preserve status quo.   We can't even take a few degrees change in the temperature.  We turn on the heater when the mercury drops and turns on the AC when it rises.  Change continues around us and maintaining or improving our comfort level seems to be the business of our lives.  We spend so much time fighting the effects of change.  We are so concerned about the shifting world climate that we ignore the shifting of our hearts.  David became aware of this internal change that he asked God, "create in me a clean heart ...and renew a right spirit within me."  He realized that his heart was no longer the same.  His circumstances have moved him further away from God.  David took this time to seek the only thing he needed - God's grace. 

When our circumstances and fortunes change, it is time to get closer to God.  When our circumstances change it is not our job to undo the external change but to prevent the deterioration of our hearts.

~ o ~

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I thought I'd share this a very interesting and thorough five-minute presentation of the gospel. 

G.O.S.P.E.L. from Humble Beast Records on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Still Relevant

One of the cabinets in the laundry room holds my collection of fabrics.   These fabrics are scraps from projects I did in the past or materials that were intend for a project but never got started.  The other day I opened the cabinet and I noticed a very interesting piece of a quilted white fabric.  Printed on this quilt this quilt is a Precious Moment picture of a boy riding on a pony.  I started to make a baby blanket when I was still pregnant with Brahms.  I envisioned my son cutely wrapped in it.  I was almost done with it - I was about to finish attaching the pastel blue edging on it.  In fact, the needle that I used to handsaw the sides was threaded and still where I left it fifteen and a half years ago.  Brahms is now almost six feet tall (5'9") - the blanket has lost its relevance. 

A while back I also started to go through the book of Matthew and writing my thoughts about it in this blog.   I've been distracted.  I read but I skipped the writing part of it.  Well, just like opening that cabinet full of fabrics, my old journal brought me to the realization that I have an unfinished project.  Unlike the baby blanket whose purpose became outdated, this Matthew Project remains relevant.  As I write down my thoughts about the words of God I am forced to humble myself to ponder not only of the contents of the book but the wisdom of the author - God himself. 

Lord I want to understand you.   I want to honor you in the things I do.  Please help.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Fruit of the Spirit

Have you ever wondered why God used the fruit to illustrate this particular topic? He could have used the Leaf of the Spirit or the Flower of the Spirit. Let me tell you what I know about the fruit from a horticultural point of view. I hope that it will lead us to understand the reason for the Fruit of the Spirit.

The Fruit is the ultimate outcome of growth and development. A plant that is well-rooted and properly nourished plant grows and eventually bears fruit. A plant that is unhealthy and nutritionally deficient does not bear fruit.  In like manner, only the healthy and growing Christian bears fruit. The apostle Paul described the concept of growing in his letter to the church in Colossae - “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” (Col. 1:9-12)

The Fruit is meant for others. The fruit is not for the one that bears it. A tree does not benefit from its fruit. The animals and the birds and humans are the ones that are attracted and fed by the fruits. Love, joy, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, peace, etc. are all meant to benefit others. They are not for us but those around us. The fruit of the spirit attracts others to us so that they would catch the seed - the same seed that we received through God's grace. Remember what God said to Adam and Eve before they were kicked out of Eden – “Go and multiply”. They were commanded to reproduce their kind. Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew (28:18-20) “Go into all the world and preach the gospel…” We are commanded to let others know what makes us the way we are. The fruit of the spirit is the appetizing color, fragrance, and sweetness that attract those who are hungry. The fruit of the spirit is the standing invitation for others to come and take shelter around us so that they too may receive the grace that we already received from Christ.

The Fruit bears the seed. The fruit is a seed carrier. We all enjoy the seedless fruits that we buy from the grocery stores because they are so easy to eat. But let me tell you – Seedless fruits are abnormal fruits. Seedless fruits are not performing what they are supposed to do in the natural sense of life. Their services end where the fruits are eaten or when they rot. God intended for the fruit to carry the possibility of a new life. Our life as Christians should bear the fruit that carries the seed of the knowledge of Christ.   In the eyes of God, the seeded fruit is more valuable than its seedless counterpart.

We live and the world watches us.  Our behavior and actions reveal that which controls us - the flesh or the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
 ~ Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love: Value-Changer

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV

In our society we associate superiority with things like knowledge, faith, service, possessions and giftedness.  These are all great things to have because they provide us with a greater capacity to perform.  Performance matter and we see the reward we get from them as the end.  And yet based on these verses there is something very crucial in the process that makes all our endeavors and giftedness either count or not.   Love is the ingredient that makes our performances a pleasing music instead of annoying noise to God and those around us.

What is love anyway?  The love as mentioned in the verse above is not the emotion that causes you to give up everything you have in order to get what you desire.  For example I give flowers to my friend so that she'll think I'm a generous person.  To give in order to get something in return is love of self.   Love is giving up something that is of value to you for the pleasure and glorification of the one we love without conditions.  It is like changing the price tag of the one we love to be greater than the treasure that we are giving up. God is the perfect example of love.  When He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us, He pulled off our clearance-sale-tag (appropriate for detestable sinners) to a price tag that is greater than the value placed on His only Son with whom He is well-pleased.  Imagine sending your own son to die so that a murderous, moneyless and slandering pagan would be allowed to come live a good life with you in your own house.  God sacrificed His Son so that we, the peoples of the world would be saved and be qualified to partake of eternal life of joy and abundance with Him.  That is love.  Love is the thought that compels the heart to put self aside for the sake of holding someone in high regard.   That is what God meant when He said, "Love your God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength... and love your neighbor as you love yourself." (Lk. 10:27) When we love we raise our brother's value over our comfort and security; in return love in our actions makes us of value in the eyes of the true judge - God.

We can have all the knowledge, faith, and works but if we do not have love we are nothing... It's time to rethink of love.